Vietnam - my travel plan
Vietnam and my travel plan
Started in Da Nang, visited Hoi An, flew to Ho Chi Minh, went for some island vibes to Phu Quoc and finished in Hanoi with shorter trip to Ha Long Bay. So what happened in between, read below.
Vietnam - da nang
Da Nang is a good start to explore Vietnam. Why? Vietnam can be pretty chaotic and this city is the most laid back in the family of big cities of Vietnam. When I think of Da Nang my first though would be “lots of bridges” and “amazing open sea views “.
Where to stay in Da Nang? My choice was hotel Da Nang Golden Bay Hotel. Let me sum it up quickly. Very good service with amazing view, variety of breakfast choices and the style with a touch of gold all around hotel convinced me. I will not write too much, since pictures are pretty much self explanatory.
I have rented a scooter to move around city since it is easier to stop at whatever point you like. As I wrote earlier there are many bridges to cross and a “Dragoon bridge” is for sure one of my favourites. It is the longest bridge in Da Nang and you will be amazed to see it by night with all the lights. Vietnamese people have a thing for the lights in my opinion. By the daytime everything is very calm and slow but when the night comes all the locals are out on the streets, hanging out and spending some time together while drinking tea or their famous coffee.
So what were my points of interests in Da Nang?
Lady Buddha - Da Nang
Lady Buddha is the tallest statue in Vietnam, it is 67m high and there are17 floors inside, each floor has 21 Buddha statues with different shapes. From above you can see the whole city. For sure a must to visit while staying in Da Nang.
My Son - sanctuary in Vietnam (unesco World Heritage)
It took us one hour drive with a scooter to arrive to the My Son. Very peaceful place where you can walk around and observe abandoned and partially ruined Hindu temples constructed in 4th and 14th century by the king of Champa. We arrived there pretty early- at 9am and it was super hot already. But don’t worry about getting dehydrated you can buy plenty of water just right at the entrance and some food as well. I loved the idea of us getting there early to avoid the crowds and obviously we did it. We were able to walk around almost by ourselves. There is a museum right at the entrance where you can get more additional information about the heritage. You can take a guided tour if you like (additional 100K VDN: 4€) but I think there is more than enough written along the way at every stop.
Entrance fee: 150K VND (6€)
Hoi An- vietnam
Hoi An is a very graceful historic place with a lot of atmosphere. Lounges, bars, souvenir shops, boutique hotels, street food, paper lanterns and many more you will experience in this vibrant city. The best way to do it is just to get lost in the streets and wander around with no certain plan and I am pretty sure you will end up with a great story. Hoi An is mixture of China, Japan and Europe, that is the fusion you can see today. You can feel the culture in this town and get the feeling of Vietnam that once was.
Golden Bridge Da nang
golden bridge danang
That bridge was for sure on top of my list to visit it while being in Vietnam. I wasn’t aware of the fact that it is a part of “amusement park”. The Golden Bridge is a 150-metre-long pedestrian bridge in the Bà Nà Hills resort just 45 minutes drive from Da Nang. It is a new architectural construction. The bridge was build on 1400m height above sea.
I was craving for this picture and my goal was to reach this bridge when it is still empty as possible. So I took the first morning gondola at 7am to reach the bridge but it wasn’t empty as I wished it would be. To have a picture with zero people you should sleep in Ba Na Hills resort and wake up with the sun to enjoy the bridge just for yourself.
As I mentioned this bridge is part of amusement park and since I have payed for the entrance (750K VND : approx 30€) I’ve decided to try out all the other activities as well. You can go and play all sorts of video games, watch 4D or 5D projections, drive cars, enjoy French village, Le Jardin gardens etc. You will not miss food corners and many more. Take a day and just enjoy all that this place offers. Here you can get all additional information about Ba Na Hills resort and where to buy tickets. I bought mine right there at the counter.
2. Ho Chi Minh - Vietnam
Ho Chi Minh city
Ho Chi Minh city is a special chapter in Vietnam, it is the most populated city with 8,4 million people surrounded by Saigon river. This is the most chaotic city I have ever been to and trust me, I’ve been around. With one word described, ok with two words - organised chaos. Be aware of the pick pockets, be careful not to get hit by car or motor bike, put your phone in the safe place, don’t be shocked when seeing alive chickens running around cars, locals sleeping in the middle of all the chaos somewhere at their comfort place such as a seat of a motor bike etc. That is just Ho Chi Minh city. There is much to explore and much to see. If you want to feel the real city vibe you should go out at night when this city gets completely different colours. Similar to Hoi An all the lights are up and all the locals are seating on the street in their small chairs - that is just their thing, small chairs - facing the street and hanging out together. It reminded me of some kind of theatre.
bitexo financial tower
When in this city you must find a roof top or a skyscraper with the view. There are many options and I’ve decided for this one. Bitexo financial Sky deck tower know for the 360 degree view around Ho Chi Minh city. You pay the entrance fee 200K VND (approx 8€) and additional 50K VDN (approx. 2€) in case you decide to visit Heineken museum as well. I must say I was amazed by the view. You can have coffee on 50th floor and enjoy the view a bit longer. I am pretty sure the view is even more stunning if you do it at the sunset.
cu chi tunnels - vietnam
This is one of the most interesting experience to feel and get to know more about wars in Vietnam. If you are interested in history this is a place to be.
How to get there and what to expect? I have booked a bus which cost me 125K VND including the entrance and tour around Cu Chi Tunnels. You have many different options to chose from so what I did was, just walking around the city and got the point where a lot of tourist companies where one next to another and chosen the best option for me. It takes 1 h 30 min approx. to get to the point from Ho Chi Minh city and than another 2 hours to go around with a tour guide. You will get to know a lot about tunnel network and how were they used during the war. Tour usually includes a showcase of different traps that were used which was very fascinating. Getting to climb through some tunnels was the highlight of my visit. At the end you have an option to shoot with real guns for some extra payment.
Bến Thành Market - hochi minh city
This is a large market place in central part of the city in the district one. It is famous for local handcrafts, textiles, souvenirs and as well as local cuisine. Save your appetite there is a lot to taste from vegetarian options to seafood or meat. After shopping you can have a great meal. Don’t forget to bargain while buying goodies.
3. Phu Quoc island - Vietnam
After spending time in the chaotic cities of Vietnam, we arrived to this beautiful island called Phú Quốc. Island off the coast of Cambodia in the Gulf of Thailand. It's known for white-sand beaches, resorts and starfishes. If you are ever thinking about visiting Vietnam and relaxing this is like a heaven on earth island.
Ok first thing first. How to get to Phu Quoc island?
There are many options how to do that. You can do it with a bus or private shuttle and than take the boat or you can just skip all of that and take the plane as I did. Here on this page you can get more info about all the possibilities. I paid for my plane ticket approx. 70€ but could get it way cheaper if I would book my ticket earlier. Since we weren’t sure of our plan I bought it pretty late and that was the result. Otherwise prices are going from 40€ to 70€. The sooner you organise yourself the better the price, usually but not always.
What to do in Phu Quoc Island?
Island has a lot to offer. What I enjoyed the most was just chilling at the beach and waiting for sunset while sipping my cocktail. First picture on the left and in the middle (above) was made on one of my favourite beaches called Sao Beach, south-eastern part of the island, with completely white sand and water so warm I thought I am in some sort of a spa. Island is full of different beaches and if you do have time, explore the whole island. Here you can find the list of all the beach places in Phu Quock.
Starfish beach in phu quoc Vietnam
I am sure that if you have ever heard of island Phu Quoc you are probably aware of the fact that starfishes are able to be found around. If you are looking for the spot, just type in Google “Starfish beach” and it will lead you directly to it. There are different options how to get there. You can use taxi, rent a bike or GRAB or go to the beach by organised tour. You can hire a private taxi driver for a day and price for the service goes from 25€ on. Renting a bike is pretty easy as well and it will cost you approx. 6€/day.
Once you get there you will be surprised by the calmness of water and it will not take too much time for you to find starfishes. Usually first you will notice bunch of people which is a great sign that starfishes are nearby. Firstly I would love to give you some tips how to behave with those creatures. It is important to remember that nature is not ours to play with. Phu Quoc Island Starfish Beach is an amazing place and it would be a shame if future generation won’t be able to enjoy its beauty.
Do not step on starfish
Do not take starfish as souvenirs
Do not remove starfish from the water and bring them closer to the shore so you can take pictures with them: on my pictures above taken on a Starfish beach I was returning all the starfishes back to deeper water where they belong because of the crowed of all tourists bringing them out, closer to the shore. To be honest I wasn’t expecting this situation and didn’t know how to behave at one point and after all decided to put them back to the deeper water.
You can spend a day around this beach and explore it’s beauty.
Where to stay in Phu Quoc island?
My choice was La Veranda Phu Quoc.
You can check out pictures below and understand why. I really loved this authentic place. Everything I needed was there. Beach bar, great restaurant, yoga in the morning with the view, all ingredients used in their restaurant were grown in their garden, champaign for the sunset with your loved one, spa (you need to try out Vietnamese massage) and a great service which counts the most if you ask me. Simple as that.
4. Hanoi- Vietnam
We are coming to the last part of my trip. Again took the plane from Phu Quoc to Hanoi, which was the most expensive flight FYI in my whole trip, as I mentioned earlier, try to book your tickets earlier. Oh well, when arrived to this city I didn’t have much time to explore it since I have already booked Indochine Cruise ship to visit Halong Bay.
Halong Bay - Vietnam
This place will leave you speechless. View is stunning and it feels so good to cruise around all the small islands with a ship, seat on the deck and just enjoy.
Indochine Cruise itineraries are designed to maximise your holiday experience and enjoyment; included are daytime excursions to the largest floating fishing village on the bay and to an island featuring swimming and a climb to the best panoramic view of the bay. They offer kayaking through caves into peaceful lakes surrounded by Limestone Mountains, which I did and was totally worth it. They also tour one of the bay’s largest and most spectacular indoor caves, “Sung Sot” or “Surprise Cave”.
What I loved about Indochina experience was that you are picked up in front of your hotel and brought back with a super fast shuttle, everything was running smooth, service was really great and I was surprised by their personal approach.
After the cruise ship experience I would highly suggest you to do the hike and climb to the most beautiful view where you can have a look at the best view on Halong Bay. I feel sorry again that I didn’t have time to do it since I was in a hurry to go back to Hanoi but please do it, as much as I saw and read about it you need to do it!
Hanoi Vietnam - my top 3 choices
After my trip to Halong Bay, Hnoi city was waiting for me to explore it. After spending almost 3 weeks in Vietnam there wasn’t much to impress me anymore but let me give you my top 3 ideas what to do in this city. I am more of a spontaneous type of girl and am trying not to follow only usual tips what to do, so sometimes just getting lost is the best thing, especially if you are in a pretty safe city where there are no dangerous areas.
Train street (picture below on the right) : very popular street in Hanoi where you can find many cute cafes and enjoy this peaceful environment with a lot of influencers trying to do their photo. This street is special because of train rail going through this very narrow street and just in case you are wondering, this rail is still in use.
Get lost: I was just walking around Hanoi and observing. You will notice a lot of variety in this vibrant city. Many boutiques, coffee places, food spots, bubble teas, small chairs all around etc
Bia Hoi Junction: This was the most lively street I have seen in Hanoi. Open throughout the day and late into the night, beer and food heaven. As soon as the sun sets in Hanoi, Vietnam, there's only one place to be: the corner of Ta Hien and Luong Ngoc Quyen streets, known as "Beer Corner". You can expect great vibe, different types of music coming from different corners, clubs/bars so packed it is hard to get a seat sometimes, locals, tourists, all gathered one place.
This was one long trip for me and this country is special and sometimes hard to handle but it was a great adventure. Hopefully my blog will give you some inspiration what to do when traveling to Vietnam. Here you can check things you need to know before visiting Vietnam.